Practice what you preach

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on May 07, 2005

In Reply to: Practice what you preach posted by James Briggs on May 06, 2005

: : I am new at this sort of thing and any help I get would be appreciated. I am looking for the origins of the expression 'Practice what you preach'. I came across it in an Arabic piece entitled "O Son" but have no idea if this is first use. Any thoughts?

: Is it biblical? Others will pretty certainly know.

: People have been expressing this sentiment in English since at least the 14th century. E.g. this from Piers Plowman -
"He performeth evil: that he preacheth, he proveth [i.e. shows] not".
Or from The Merchant of Venice -
"It is a good divine that follows his own instructions".
And in a translation of Seneca published by R L'Estrange in 1678 the proverb appears in its modern form -
"We must practise what we preach".